Class #6: Beware of the Hearing Loss And Prevent It (With Earplugs)

Hello Everyone! Happy New Year!

You probably noticed that I haven’t posted anything new for a while, but that’s because – as some of you already know – I recently became father and went into “offline” mode to focus on my little one!

Today I’m back but before we continue our Clean Energy Classrooms, I wanted to discuss something important: hearing protection, a rising problem amongst youth (and adults too).

Use EarplugsI am not an expert in the field of hearing protection, but I did my research after I’ve noticed that more and more students wearing earbuds all the time, listining loud music, not hearing anything too much often. I’ve decided to dedicate one of the posts on my blog to this issue and explain how you can prevent hearing loss with just $5 worth pack of the best earplugs, like those.

I hope you’ll find it useful. I feel this is important.

Noise is Killing Your Ears

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. A single shot from a large caliber firearm, experienced at close range, may permanently damage your hearing in an instant. Repeated exposures to loud music from a concert or machinery  may, over an extended period of time, present serious risks to your hearing. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD):

  • 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise
  • 30 to 50 million more are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day.

This problem becomes so widespread because the effects of noise are often underestimated because the damage takes place so gradually, loud noises have become so common in our culture, and there are no externally-visible physical changes (like a wound).

As a result, people have not appreciated the serious impact of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) on their daily living until they’re frustrated by a permanent communication problem or ongoing ringing in their ears. Perhaps a bit too late, they then become passionate about “hearing conservation” in order to save the hearing they still possess.

Doesn’t it make more sense, though, to emphasize “HEARING LOSS PREVENTION”, while you still have a good hearing sensitivity? I’d like to go ahead and summarize how excessive noise can damage the hearing system and how to prevent hearing loss

THE CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS

Beware – I am not a doctor – but just reading the Wikipedia you’ll learn that the ear has three main parts: the outer, middle, and inner ear. The outer ear opens into the ear canal. The eardrum separates the ear canal from the middle ear. Small bones in the middle ear help transfer sound vibrations to the inner ear. Here, the vibrations become nerve impulses, which the brain interprets as music, a slamming door, a voice, and so on.

When noise is too loud, it begins to kill the nerve endings in the inner ear. Prolonged exposure to loud noise destroys nerve endings. As the number of nerve endings decreases, so does your hearing. There is no way to restore life to dead nerve endings; the damage is permanent.

The longer you are exposed to a loud noise, the more damaging it may be. Also, the closer you are to the source of intense noise, the more damaging it is.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR EAR AGAINST NOISES

pack of earplugs
Earplugs like this one (Molde Pura-Fit 6800) can help you focus – and sleep better too!

Wear Earplugs. Actually, no, wear the best earplugs. Especially if you must work in an excessively noisy environment. You should also wear them when using power tools, noisy yard equipment, or firearms, or riding a motorcycle or snowmobile.

Earplugs are small inserts that fit into the outer ear canal. They must be sealed snugly so the entire circumference of the ear canal is blocked. An improperly fitted, dirty, or worn-out plug may not seal properly and can result in irritation of the ear canal. Plugs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit individual ear canals and can be custom-made.

For people who have trouble keeping them in their ears, the plugs can be fitted to a headband. This small device will definitely save your ears from hearing loss.

It’s just amazing how pack of cheap earplugs can save your ears. Basic earplugs can cost $1, the best ones go for $5-$8. Is this a significant investments? I don’t think so. What do you get in return? Health! So is it worth it? Most definitely yes.

Think about it.

Thanks, and to the next classes!

Colin

Class #5: Swaping Non-Eco Bulky Fridge with a Cooler This Summer

Hello and welcome to my next, fifth class! Since we have a hot summer this year, it’s worth to talk about smart ways of being more eco-friendly while saving money on electric bills.

How much energy does your fridge use to keep drinks cold? Drinks can take up nearly half the space in your fridge, which might mean that it’s working harder than it has to so it can keep things cold.

Some drinks, like cans of soda, don’t necessarily need to be kept in the fridge but you probably still want to keep them cool during those hot summer days. A good ice cooler can keep your drinks cool.

eco ice coolerWith the development of better insulating materials, the quality of ice coolers has improved over the past few decades.

Now it’s becoming increasingly popular to buy a cooler that can keep drinks and sandwiches cold for several days because they’re losing their reputation as being cheaply made and incapable of keeping food cool for very long at a time.

That means you can save money on keeping drinks cold because you’re both buying less ice and spending less money on the electric costs of cooling them cold in the refrigerator.

Benefits of Using An Ice Cooler or Ice Chest

The high-quality ones have good enough insulation to keep the ice frozen for as long as you need it in most cases. Many of the truly good ones can keep ice frozen for as long as ten days. That’s long enough for most road trips. Look for coolers that get good reviews from people who frequently take road trips lasting more than a week and you’ll have a good idea of how long they can hold ice.

You’ll have something on hand to keep perishables cold in an emergency. If you live in an area that has frequent blackouts during bad or especially hot weather, a few good ice coolers can save the food and drinks that will spoil most quickly if they aren’t kept cool. If you have an emergency such as a flood or storm that may have damaged your electrical system, it’s also a good idea to have a cooler on hand so that you can save what’s in your fridge.

You may think you’re spending too much money just to keep drinks cold. In fact, you’re probably right. Some drinks, like soda and beer, do fine in an ice cooler because they don’t have to be kept as cold as milk or juices to be refreshing. If you transfer them over to an ice cooler, you’ll not only be spending less money on the electricity needed to keep them cold, but you’ll also have more room in your fridge.

A lot of coolers and ice chests can have more space than you think. If you’re used to just hauling a cooler to work to hold your lunch or to the beach to hold a few beers, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of volume a cooler can have. Some of the most popular ones have a volume of more than 400 quarts.

What Should You Look For In An Ice Cooler?

What is the ice cooler normally used for? If you intend to keep drinks and/or food in the cooler long-term, you’ll want one with a good ice retention rating and enough volume to suit your needs. The larger, more durable ones with better ice retention will usually be better suited for storing drinks or food in. Also, be sure to consider the environment it will be used in. If you intend to move it around a lot or take it to the beach, see if you can find one that has wheels and a handle for more comfortable moving, but can stay in place when it’s not actually being moved.

Does it get good reviews? Look for reviews by people who have actually used that particular cooler because they’ll usually be brutally honest about the pros and cons. Amazon.com is another good place to look for honest reviews.

Can you inspect the cooler yourself? If you have the chance to look at the cooler in person, don’t be shy about looking it over and seeing if it’s large enough and feels sturdy. Sit on it. Stand on it. Put a few heavy things in it and move it around to see if you can handle it comfortably when it’s full. This will tell you a lot about how the cooler will perform at home.

When you’re looking for an ice cooler to store drinks in, you shouldn’t skimp and buy something that you don’t feel comfortable using just to save some money. Sure, you can and should set a reasonable price range so you can get a good deal for the money. However, if your maximum is a round figure, don’t let the fact that a cooler might be a few bucks over that turn you off if it’s perfect otherwise. Get the one that works best for you.

Class #4 – Your child want to ride a dirt bike? Go green, buy an electric one!

Today’s class (fourth already!) is a bit off-topic, although still closely related to the eco-living aspects of everyday’s life. If you have kids, boys especially, I am sure you’ve once gone through the on-going questions like: “dad, can I get a dirt bike” (or any other motorized ride on toy). I’ve been there several times and decided to write this class to make more parents aware that buying a motorized vehicle for children doesn’t have to be in conflict with an eco-friendly approach to living.

Let me explain.

Electric Dirt Bike Razor
Razor is one of the makers of electric dirt bikes. Kids love riding them.

Kids like to be mobile and they like to feel like a grown-up when they ride their very first motorized vehicle. For this reason, it’s pretty inevitable that they’ll beg for their own dirt bike, ATV or motorized e-scooter. If are eco-friendly and don’t feel like paying for gas for these vehicles, you should “go green” and buy them an electric dirt bikelike the Razor.

Electric dirt bikes for kids are relatively new. Most models of dirt bikes for kids still use gas, but manufacturers are responding to the new market for more environmentally friendly options. That means they’ve developed the capacity to use rechargeable electric motors for mobile toys like dirt bikes and ATVs for kids. That’s good for you because you don’t have to make frequent trips to a gas station with a gas can and good for the environment because electric dirt bikes produce no emissions.

Benefits of Electric Dirt Bikes for Kids

I’ve spent some time browsing through the internet resources to see if my own views on kids’ dirt bikes resonate with what others say. So, if I would have to name key benefits, these would be the following.

They’re quiet. The motors tend to produce fewer decibels than equivalent gas motors, which means fewer complaints from the neighbors when the kids ride around on their dirt bikes.

They’re safe. While kids might still get a few scrapes and bruises while learning how to handle the dirt bike, this can be mitigated with a helmet and knee and elbow pads. Once they’ve learned how to steer and show that they can be aware of the environment they’re riding in, dirt bikes are actually a relatively safe outdoor activity. Electric dirt bikes for kids, usually have less powerful engines, so they don’t go very fast. The Razor MX500 Dirt Rocket Electric Motocross Bike, for instance, doesn’t go above 15 MPH even though it’s rated for older kids. As per this source, they aren’t rated for street use in most states. That means they’ll usually be riding them on the sidewalk or on smooth dirt surfaces, where they’ll be in less risk of being hit by vehicles on the road. Electric dirt bikes usually also have a limited range, so even if you don’t see or hear them right this second, they probably won’t have gone far on their electric bike.

You can usually find one that’s suitable for your child’s age. Like bicycles, electric dirt bikes can come in varying sizes. If you have a very young child who has just mastered riding a bicycle without training wheels, you should get one that’s less than 20 pounds so that it’s easy for kids to master while still being challenging enough to be fun. Heavier and larger bikes like the Kuberg Trial E 21-Inch are usually suitable for kids between the ages of 7 and 14.

They’re easy to maintain. Very often, they will just need to be plugged in between uses. If it seems to be running rough, it usually just needs to be taken to the shop for a tune-up.

It can increase your kid’s confidence and coordination. An electric dirt bike is a major confidence-booster for kids who like the freedom of riding around their neighborhood and it can increase their coordination as they learn how to steer it.

It’s eco-friendly. While it might not be as eco-friendly as riding an entirely foot-powered bicycle, an electric dirt bike does not have the emissions of a gas-powered bike. This is especially true if you use solar power for your home.

So, what should you look for in an electrical dirt bike for your child? The first consideration is to take your kid’s age, size and physical development level into account. The bike should be easy for your child to handle and big enough that he can spend a few years riding on it. The 16” version of the Kuberg 2016 Trial E Electric Bike is rated for children up to 10 years old, for instance, but if your child is in the higher percentiles in terms of height and weight, he might outgrow it before he reaches his tenth birthday. So you might consider the 21” version instead.

Another important thing to consider is the power rating of the motor. Besides the fact that higher cc ratings might need to be charged more often or for longer periods of time, the higher cc ratings can also move faster. A crash at max speed on a bike with a 125cc motor might hurt more than a crash at max speed with a 50cc motor. So if your child has not yet mastered the use of an electric motor bike or you worry about safety, consider buying one with a lower rating.

The truth is that electric dirt bikes can be fun for children on the move if you choose the right options. They’re eco-friendly, they can be found in a variety of sizes and motor powers to suit your child’s age and skill level, and they can be found at affordable prices so you feel like you’re getting a good value for your money.

To the next green-living class, folks!